High US official attends nuclear talks with Iran, capping secret US-Tehran diplomacy

By sending US Under Secretary of State William Burns to European-Iranian talks in Geneva Saturday, July 19, the Bush administration makes official the secret diplomatic track afoot between Washington and Tehran, first disclosed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly on June 27. He joins European Union’s Javier Solana meting with officials of the six powers with Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
Our US sources confirm that this step distances the Bush administration still further from Israel’s policy position, which calls for the curtailment of Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb by all means, including military action. It leaves Jerusalem alone in the arena against Iran on the nuclear and other security issues, such as Hizballah, Syria and the radicalized Lebanese government.
The Washington announcement came a day after Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama reiterated he was willing to engage Iran’s leaders in direct talks.
In its June 27 issue, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 354 reported (Secret US-Iran Talks: Bush Pulls Iran Diplomacy Carpet from under Obama) that President George W. Bush had hijacked Obama’s opening to Iran to fashion a diplomatic legacy for his successor and help John McCain get elected.
This secret dialogue had yielded deals on pricing oil up to a $150 ceiling and a helping hand from Tehran in Iraq.
Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers serving under cover in Iraq were instructed to hold back radical Shiite militias from attacking US forces and to share intelligence with the American military.
This did not stop Hizballah cells in Iraq from going for American targets. One of their operatives, trained in Iran as an explosives expert was captured in Iraq, according to a disclosure on Tuesday, July 15.
The understandings US and Iranian diplomats achieved in their undisclosed talks over several weeks were far-ranging. Our Middle East sources reveal they included Lebanese political stability under a new national government in which Iran’s surrogate, Hizballah won veto power and Syria’s violent proxy a ministerial seat; and Syrian ruler Bashar Assad’s restoration to center position on the Middle East stage.
This new White House orientation has thrust Israel to the outer edge of its Middle East policy in favor of placing its most extreme enemies at the center. Prime minister Olmert, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and defense minister Ehud Barak find their foreign policies bankrupted.
The indirect peace talks Olmert initiated with Syria through Turkey are now revealed as a smoke screen which he laid down unwittingly to cover Washington’s pursuit of a secret rapprochement with Tehran and Damascus.
The official US statement Wednesday said Burns “will be there [at the big power talks in Switzerland] to listen, not negotiate.”
debkafile‘s sources add: The real negotiations are going forward steadily in the realm of secret diplomacy.

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